Women Take Charge in Indonesia
Pertamina chief symbolises a change in both industry and government
- Indonesian women are increasingly the chiefs of major companies, both private and government-controlled, especially in the energy sector.
- The most visible woman, and perhaps the most embattled of late, is Karen Agustiawa, president director of Pertamina, Indonesia’s top state-owned oil and gas company since February 2009. As the company increases investment, the directors around her were jettisoned, Asia Sentinel reports, with seven new ones chosen from a list of 25, most of them internal nominations.
- Asia Sentinel reports of the planned increase in oil output: “But these dreams are impossible if Pertamina, as the top state-owned enterprise in a clutch of increasingly profitable SOEs, is run in the style of an old boys club representing yesterday, as a milking cow for patronage, jobs for the boys and profits for the old elite. Agustiawan may be just the right kind of leader to change it.”
- Other leading women include Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati, herself under attack over a bank bailout, and Evita Legowo, director general of oil and gas in the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, whose agency was unable to sell three-quarters of the 40 oil and gas blocks it offered in the last year. Trade Minister E Mari Pangestu is also a woman.
- “These leaders are part of the inexorable rise of women in Indonesia and the Arab and Muslim world,” the online news service reports. “The country cannot become the seventh largest global economy by 2040, as predicted by Standard Charter Bank recently, without them.”
- But it adds, of in particular but this applies as well to all the new powerful women in Indonesia: But she will still have to fight for progress against the conservative, under-qualified under-capacity male-dominated middle that holds back much of public enterprise and public administration.
- To achieve true growth, Asia Sentinel adds, Indonesia must recognise the value of women not only as leaders but also their importance as the prime consumers in Indonesia.
- “With the elevation of women like Agustiawan, Sri Mulyani, Evita Legowo and Mari Pangestu, Indonesia can show the way for the Muslim world,” Asia Sentinel reports. It notes that the change was complimented by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, when she visited the archipelago: “[A] recognition of the role that women have to play and the opportunities for women to assume leadership positions, as many of you in this room have done, is another contribution that Indonesia is making. As I travel around the world over the next years, I will be saying to people, if you want to know whether Islam, democracy, modernity, and women’s rights can coexist, go to Indonesia.”
“The Asia Sentinel report”: http://asiasentinel.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2246&Itemid=189